Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:47 pm

<2012 “On a dreich weekday evening with the temperature falling rapidly. He drove around without taking much of it in.”—Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin, page 177>
The word sounds like something lousy and it is, but some of the quoters below might disagree:


DREICH adjective [[chiefly]] Scottish [[(also Northern England, Northern Ireland]] Especially weather) dreary, bleak, [[dismal, miserable, cheerless,wet, cold, gloomy]] <a cold dreich early April day>

Origin: Middle English (in the sense ‘patient long-suffering’) of Germanic origin corresponding to Old Norse drjúgr ‘enduring, lasting’ [[From Old English *drēoh. Alternatively from Britonnic, cognate with "Drycin" also spelt "Drychin" meaning "Foul Weather".]]

The following choice quotes are from newspaper archives:
<1998 “It's been a dreich Festival - and that was just the music”—The Scotsman (Edinburgh), 7 September>

<2008 “We never thought we'd say this, but we might actually have cause to be thankful for this dreich Scottish summer.”—Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), 19 July>

<2012 “We're British: the weather is one of our prime sources of default conversation. We moan when it's too hot and we whine when it's too cold. Rain, wind, full sunshine, hail and snow all solicit a selection of grumbling reactions. You could call it the Goldilocks syndrome of climate response, though having said that, few days ever seem "just right".
I quite like dreich days. I really don't see what the big deal is with a little cloud and a smidgen of rain. There's something quite cosy about a world enveloped in a blanket of grey nimbus, where the light's not too bright and you can spend your day in that dreamy half-awake-half-asleep state.”—The Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), 28 August>

<2013 “‘Dreich' Tops Poll as Nation's Favourite Scots Word: Ahead of Burns Night on 25th January, a new poll has revealed ‘dreich' as Scotland's favourite word in the Scots language. The You Gov survey asked adults across the country to select their number one Scots word from a list of options including some of Robert Burns' own favourites. With 23 per cent of the public vote, and perhaps proving Scotland's love for talking about the weather, the word ‘dreich’ meaning ‘wet', ‘cold' and ‘gloomy' trumped other classics such as ‘glaikit' (20%), ‘blether' (12%) and ‘crabbit' (11%).”—States News Service, 23 January>

<2013 “Alex Salmond's offer of a bright new future was met with the reality of a dreich Glasgow day yesterday.”—The Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), 27 November>

Ken G — December 10, 2015

Re: dreich

Post by Phil White » Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:20 pm

Nice one, Ken.

The etymology seems at best guesswork to me.

It could also be related to "drag" as in "it's a drag", in which the whole thing may be cognate with all sorts of Germanic words centreed around "tragen" (to bear or carry). But that's just more guesswork.
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

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